it slipped from his lips. My insides warmed and felt gooey. I loved Michael, but I would have never been the first to say it. Tears filled my eyes as I looked into his eyes.

“Gonna leave me hanging here, Doc?”

I smiled against his mouth. “Just this once… I won’t. I love you too, Michael.”

He crushed his mouth to mine, claiming each other, branding one another with a passionate kiss.

Epilogue

Two months later

Mia wrapped her arms around me as I looked around the room, admiring the remodeled clinic. “You did an amazing thing here, Michael,” she said, resting her head on my back, smashing her breasts into me. Damn, she felt good.

“We, Mia. We did an amazing job.” I rubbed her arm and thought about how much life had changed in three months.

I couldn’t imagine a day without her. She made me happier than anything else in my life. I quit fighting and trying to climb the ranks. For her, I’d do anything.

My time was spent between the shop, the clinic, and Mia. There wasn’t time to fight without sacrificing my time with Mia.

Did I turn into a pussy? Not a bit. I could kick any motherfucker’s ass if given the chance.

I had a greater purpose in life - one that mattered and made a difference. I loved seeing the sparkle in Mia’s eyes every day. She wasn’t stressed and no longer had nightmares as often as she did before quitting her job. She made a difference to the people in the community and I felt like I played a role in making her dream become a reality.

“Is everyone here?” I asked, turning around.

“If you mean your family, yeah they’re all here. There’s a big crowd outside waiting for us to cut the ribbon and open up this bad boy.” She laughed. It was infectious.

“I have something for you first,” I said, reaching for an envelope I left on a waiting room chair.

She grabbed it, looking up at me she asked, “What is it?” as she tore it open.

“Read it,” I said, tapping the folded paper.

She slowly opened the paper; her eyes flickered to me and back to the paper. “Michael,” she said, covering her mouth.

“I couldn’t think of a better owner than you, Mia.” I brushed the small tear that trickled down her cheek.

Tears of joy had never made me feel so kickass. Some of the money came from donations and the rest from my family and I filled the gap personally. We knew that Mia was the perfect person to be the rightful owner of the building, giving her security that the clinic would always be there.

“I can’t believe this, but how?” she said, her eyes moving across the paper, as she gripped it with two hands.

“Doesn’t matter, Mia. It’s yours now.” I grabbed her chin and kissed her.

She jumped in my arms, kissing my lips before kissing my face. I laughed, letting her plant soft kisses on my skin.

“I’m speechless. I don’t know how to repay you for all this,” she said, waving her hands toward the room.

“I can think of a few ways,” I said, squeezing her ass as I laughed.

“I’m sure you will.” She rubbed her nose against mine, giggling.

“Let’s do this then. No reason to wait any longer.” I released her, letting her body slide down mine until her feet hit the floor.

“Ready,” she said, wiping her lips and eyes.

We opened the door, stepping outside to a group of about thirty people including patients, local media, and my family. Mia’s smile was radiant as she waved to the patients that she recognized in the crowd.

‘This is so exciting,” Ma said, grabbing my face, planting a sloppy kiss on my cheek. “And you, my sweet girl,” she said turning to Mia, “thank you for allowing me to be a part of this.”

My ma loved Mia as much as I did.

Mia’s cheeks flushed. “Thanks, Mrs. G. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Mia hugged my ma, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“Come on, ladies. Let’s cut this ribbon and get the party started,” I said, ready to let everyone in to see the amazing work we did the last two months.

My parents, Mia, and myself all stood in front of the red ribbon with the largest pair of scissors I’d ever seen in my life being held up by Anthony and Izzy. Suzy stood next to Joseph, holding him by the arm as he leaned on his cane. The only person missing was my brother, Thomas.

Flashes from the crowd blinded me as Mia fidgeted at my side. I squeezed her hand hoping to calm her.

My father held his hands up, motioning for quiet. He turned to Mia and nodded.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming. The Gallo family has been kind enough to help give the clinic a new life. They helped raise funds to rehab and bring the facility up-to-date. We’re proud to offer the community the best medical care possible.” Her voice was strong as she spoke.

She was meant for this, meant to be in the spotlight.

“Without their generosity, none of this would be possible. We will have a full-time on staff doctor, a nurse, and a receptionist along with the volunteer physicians that will work in the clinic to meet the needs of all patients. Thank you for coming today and making this moment even more special.” With a beaming smile, she looked at me and winked.

Fuck, I loved her.

The crowd clapped and cheered as we held up the scissors before cutting the ribbon. Flashes illuminated around us as I grabbed her, kissing her as the people in the crowd cheered louder.

“Come on, Doc. Show the people around,” I said.

She smiled at me before turning her attention back to the people. “Come on everybody, I can’t wait to show you all the changes.”

The people entered the clinic with the same shocked expression. Their mouths hung open, their eyes looked around as they turned their head taking in every inch.

Mia showed people round the new exam rooms as I stayed in the waiting room. I watched her walk in and out of the rooms with small groups of people that hung on her every word.

“Is my baby in love?” my mother asked, standing at my side.

I jumped, grabbing my chest. “Ma, you about gave me a heart attack.”

She laughed before resting her head on my bicep. “I see the way you look at her, Michael. You wouldn’t do all this, if you weren’t in love with Mia.”

Heat crept up my chest to my face. “I do love her, Ma.”

“Well then,” she said, clearing her throat, “someone better give me a damn grandchild already. I know I taught you boys about birth control, but for the love of God, you or Joseph better make it happen, and I mean quick.”

“I’ve been practicing,” I smirked as I looked down at her beautiful smile.

“You’ve had enough time for that, you’re getting older, don’t wait too long, Michael.”

“Ma, Joe and Suzy have been together longer and they live together. Put a little pressure on them first, will ya?” I turned, getting a glimpse of Mia before looking back to my mother.

“Oh, don’t worry about that, I am.” She laughed. ”They’re practicing too, plenty from what I hear from your sister. Is Mia coming to the party at the house after this?”

My family was filled with gossips. Nothing stayed a secret for very long.

I swear sometimes my ma used any excuse to have a party. She loved to cook and have everyone over to talk. She hated how quiet the house had become since we moved out. “Yeah, she’s coming. You didn’t invite too many people, did you?”

“Baby, do I ever invite too many people?” She smiled at me, but it was a bullshit smile.

Sighing, I said, “Always.” I kissed the top of her head.

Her body shook against my arm with her silent laughter. “Never you mind that. I’m going to head home and start getting things ready with your father. Gather the troops when everyone is gone and come over. Don’t dilly dally.” She patted my stomach and walked toward my father. He nodded at her and shook the man’s hand he’d been talking with before they walked to the door hand in hand.

>

“You did real good, Mikey,” Izzy said, as she crept up next to me.

“Does everyone feel the need to sneak up on me today?” I crossed my arms over my chest but didn’t turn to face her.

“Cranky ass, aren’t ya? I didn’t sneak up anywhere. If you weren’t so hypnotized by Mia you would’ve heard me.”

I guess I was that obvious. I thought I hung out and blended in with the crowd, but I guess I didn’t. “Am I staring at her like a creep?”

Izzy smacked my arm. “Nah, like a love sick puppy is all.”

“Great,” I muttered, scrubbing my hands across my face.

“I’m going to go. I have a stop to make before I head to the party,” Izzy said and stood on her tiptoes, grabbing my arm and kissed my cheek.

“Don’t be long, Izzy. Ma will have a cow.”

“No worries. I’ll be there in plenty of time.” She winked and waved as I turned my attention back to Mia.

I shook hands with the people as they left. They thanked me for my family’s generous gift to the clinic. I told them that none of it would be possible without Dr. Greco and they’d nod and smiled.

When the crowd thinned, I sat down, resting my head against the wall. I could hear Mia talking in the back as she continued to walk room to room with the few people left. I closed my eyes and listened to her voice.

Soft warm lips pressed against mine. As I opened my eyes, I hoped they were Mia’s. “Everyone’s gone. Are you ready?” she asked as she pulled away.

“Yeah, we better go before Mama Gallo puts out an APB.”

She giggled, climbing in my lap. “You make her sound so horrible, but your mom is a sweetheart,” she said, resting her forehead against mine.

“You’ve never seen her other side, Mia. She’s Italian and has a temper. No mild mannered woman can raise four boys.”

“I’ll remember that,” she said, caressing my cheek.

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